by Karen Adams, formerly Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University, Victoria, and National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Australian Capital Territory;
Tanya Dixon, Gippsland Indigenous Hearing Health Program, Ramahyuck Aboriginal Co-operative, Victoria; and
Jill Guthrie, Muru Marri Indigenous Health Research Unit, University of New South Wales (formerly National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Australian Capital Territory)
Issue addressed: To evaluate and describe the Gippsland Indigenous Hearing Health Program, Victoria.
Methods: An analysis of ear health screen outcomes and management conducted by the Gippsland Indigenous Regional Hearing Health Program between January and October 2002. These were considered in relation to the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Hearing Strategy 1995-1999,1 and Clinical Care Guidelines on the Management of Otitis Media.2
Results: Ear health screens and rescreens totalled 354. Adverse screen outcomes of 126 children aged 0-11 years, 5% had chronic suppurative otitis media; 40% had fluid-filled middle ear and 7% experienced hearing loss; boys aged between 4-6 years were two times more at risk of hearing loss. Of 354 screens and rescreens of participants of all ages, 44% required further assessment and/or treatment and 42% of these required assistance to attend the follow-up appointment.
Conclusion: Ear health was a serious problem for children screened by the Gippsland Indigenous Hearing Health Program. Aboriginal Health Workers utilised Hearing Health Reports to identify and manage adverse outcomes. The program relied on linkages for access to screen sites and referral.
Health Promotion Journal of Australia 2004;15:205-10